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 Sunday, February 11, 2007

Barack Obama for President

  Barack Obama announces his candidacy for the Democratic presidential nomination, challenging Sen. Hillary Clinton

Read here full article by NEDRA PICKLER

Barack Obama says it is time for a new generation to occupy the White House. He declared himself on Saturday as a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination.

He is considered the biggest threat to front-runner Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., despite his relative lack of experience as an elected official.

"I know I haven't spent a lot of time learning the ways of Washington," Obama told more than 10,000 people who braved the cold to see the kickoff of a campaign to put the first black in the Oval Office. "But I've been there long enough to know that the ways of Washington must change."

Obama embraced the idea Saturday.

"Each and every time, a new generation has risen up and done what's needed to be done," he said. "Today we are called once more - and it is time for our generation to answer that call."

Obama did not mention his roots as the son of a man from Kenya and a woman from Kansas, his childhood in Hawaii and Indonesia or that the history he would make if elected.

Instead, he focused on his life in Illinois over the past two decades, beginning with a job as a community organizer with a $13,000-a-year salary that strengthened his Christian faith.

He tied his announcement to the legacy of Lincoln, announcing from the building where the future 16th president served in the Illinois Legislature.

"We can build a more hopeful America. And that is why, in the shadow of the Old State Capitol, where Lincoln once called on a house divided to stand together, where common hopes and common dreams still live, I stand before you today to announce my candidacy for President of the United States of America," Obama said. His voice rose to a shout as he spoke over the cheers from thousands who braved temperatures in the teens.

"I know it's a little chilly, but I'm fired up," Obama said as he took the podium with his wife Michelle and daughters Malia, 8, and Sasha, 5, with U2's "City of Blinding Lights" blaring on the speakers.

Local authorities estimated the crowd at 15,000 to 17,000.

Brenda and Michael Talkington, who live near Muncie, Ind., said they have never been involved in a political campaign, but both were laid off from jobs with a lighting company and plan to volunteer for Obama.

"He makes you feel like it is possible to change things," Brenda Talkington said.

She seemed to be reading from Obama's songbook.

He said the first priority must be to end the war in Iraq.

"It's time to admit that no amount of American lives can resolve the political disagreement that lies at the heart of someone else's civil war," he said. He noted that he was against the invasion from the start.

He repeatedly referred to Lincoln and his success in moving a nation. The Old State Capitol was where Lincoln launched his unsuccessful 1858 U.S. Senate campaign against Stephen Douglas with his famous "House Divided" speech. During his presidential campaign in 1860, Lincoln used rooms in the second floor as his political headquarters, and his body lay in state there in 1865.

Obama said it is because of Lincoln that Americans of every race face the challenges of the 21st century together.

"The life of a tall, gangly, self-made Springfield lawyer tells us that a different future is possible," Obama said. "He tells us that there is power in words. He tells us that there is power in conviction. That beneath all the differences of race and region, faith and station, we are one people. He tells us that there is power in hope."

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